Dunas Douradas Beach Club is one of the more prestigious addresses in Portuguese hospitality.
Here Breaking Travel News editor, Chris O’Toole, speaks with Silvia Biscaia, director general of parent Dunas Douradas Developments, about the property, what is on offer there and her hopes for the season ahead now the impact of Covid-19 has begun to recede.
Breaking Travel News: Could we begin with an overview of Dunas Douradas Developments – you are famous for the Dunas Douradas Beach Club, but this is part of a wider portfolio of properties?
Silvia Biscaia: First of all, thanks for the opportunity for this interview.
Yes, it is true - Dunas Douradas Developments has established itself in all the areas of the Golden Triangle, known as Dunas Douradas, in the last 30 years.
Two years ago, we developed Seabreeze Residences, a closed condominium managed by us, and we are now finishing the project Dunas Douradas Beach Villas, itself composed of six contemporary individual villas just next to the Resort Dunas Douradas Beach Club.
BTN: How would you describe the mood in Portuguese tourism currently? While the country was hard hit by Covid-19, the Algarve was largely spared? Will this help rebuild the market as the borders reopen?
SB: Portugal in general, and the Algarve specifically, have prepared very carefully for the season, with a lot of specific measures for safety due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Portuguese tourism authorities have created the Safe & Clean stamp for the resorts and hotels which comply with all the required safety measures.
Dunas Douradas Beach Club was one of the first resorts in Portugal to get the stamp, in April.
In a first stage, until the end of May, all the country did very well and the expectations for the tourism were very high.
Unfortunately, in June, the Lisbon area started having some outbreaks in specific neighbourhoods around the city, but in the Algarve the number of Covid-19 positive cases have always been - and continues to be - very limited.
The mandatory quarantine in the UK for visitors to the Algarve was a big hit to expectations in the region, and we do hope that will be reviewed soon.
The best ambassadors of the region are all the ones that keep coming to Algarve and can testify how safe it is for holidays in the region, especially with this amazing weather we have this summer.
For August, Dunas Douradas Beach Club is almost fully occupied.
We have in fact an advantage in the resort since we have large open areas to access the apartments or villas, the guests can be in the beach, pool or restaurant always two- of three-meters away from other guests and can ask for a safe transfer to the airport to arrive in this dream place by the beach and free of Covid-19.
Beyond that, Faro airport has implemented all safety measures, like control temperatures, use of disinfectants and the mandatory use of masks.
BTN: What are your aspirations for the rest of 2020 – do you see a more complete recovery heading into next year, or will it be a longer-term process?
SB: Our expectation is still to have an acceptable season, depending on the UK government decision about Portugal and the evolution of the outbreak both in Portugal and in the inbound countries.
Next year will be for sure a year of slow recovery for tourism but, depending a lot on the existence of a vaccine, we expect that 2022 can see a return to 2019 numbers.
Portugal before the Covid-19 was a trend destination and this year we had the best low season ever, so it is expected that as things gets better, tourists will return to Portugal and especially to the Algarve.
BTN: In what ways have consumer expectations changed in the ‘new normal’ of hospitality, and how is Dunas Douradas Beach Club adapting to meet these demands?
SB: The consumer expectation now is to feel completely safe on holiday - this factor becomes more important than any other.
Dunas Douradas Beach Club has an internal protocol accessible to all guests for them to be aware of all the measure we take to keep everybody safe.
It is a huge document where everything was thought through in detail.
For example - just to mention some measures - we have disinfestation stations for guests and employees when they arrive and leave the resort, all apartments are disinfected with specific equipment and products when guests change, all common areas are disinfected six times a day, and all the equipment for leisure have been moved to comply with social distancing.
BTN: Dunas Douradas Beach Club was recognised as the World’s Leading Golf & Villa Resort by voters at the World Travel Awards last year – how useful are accolades such as this for the development of the brand?
SB: Dunas Douradas Beach Club taking the title of World’s Leading Golf & Villa Resort in Oman last November had a huge impact on our visibility worldwide and boosted immediately the bookings for this year.
The award brings a lot of impact for the brand perception and increases a lot the responsibility in all the team to meet the expectations of the guests as ‘the best in the world’.
To meet the expectations all my team had training and coaching to be at the highest level.
It had a huge impact and our expectations were that 2020 would be the best year ever for Dunas Douradas Beach Club.
Unfortunately Covid-19 has prevented us to meet those expectations, but we are doing our best!
Dunas Douradas Beach Club is an award-winning, five-star resort in the heart of the Golden Triangle in Algarve.
Situated in a privileged setting away from the crowds, overlooking the ocean and endless golden beaches of the Atlantic coastline, the property welcomes guests to a relaxed and elegant atmosphere and offers exclusivity and recreation for every member of the family.
Find out more on the official website.